Nonie Darwish

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Nonie Darwish
Nonie Darwish 1.jpg
Nahid Darwish

1949 (age 70–71)[1][2]
EducationAmerican University in Cairo
OccupationWriter, public speaker, Founder & President of Arabs for Israel
WebsiteArabs for Israel,

Nonie Darwish (Arabic: نوني درويش‎; born Nahid Darwish, 1949)[1][2] is an critic of Islam, and founder of Arabs for Israel, and is Director of Former Muslims United. The Southern Poverty Law Center has described her as an anti-Arab[3] and anti-Muslim[4] activist. She is the author of four books: Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law, The Devil We Don't Know: The Dark Side of Revolutions in the Middle East, and Wholly Different: Why I Chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values. Born in Egypt, Darwish is the daughter of an Egyptian Army lieutenant general, who was called a "shahid" by the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser,[5] after being killed in a targeted killing by the Israel Defense Forces in 1956. Darwish blames "the Middle Eastern Islamic culture and the propaganda of hatred taught to children from birth" for his death. In 1978, she moved with her husband to the United States, and converted to Christianity there. In the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks, she has written on Islam-related topics.[5] She has been accused of operating as part of a "shariah scare industry".[6]


Nonie Darwish was born in 1949 in Cairo, Egypt.[1][2][7] Her father, Colonel Mustafa Hafez, was paternally of Turkish ancestry.[8] In the 1950s her family moved to Gaza when her father was sent by Gamal Abdel Nasser to serve as commander of the Egyptian Army Intelligence in Gaza, which was under supervision of Egypt. Hafez founded the fedayeen who launched raids across Israel's southern border, that between 1951 and 1956, killed many Israelis, the majority civilians.[2][9] In July 1956 when Nonie was six years old, her father was killed by a mail bomb in an operation by the Israeli Defense Forces.[2][7][9] The assassination was a response to Fedayeen's attacks, making Darwish's father a shahid.[10][11] The assassination was planned by Yehoshafat Harkabi. During his speech announcing the nationalization of the Suez Canal, Nasser vowed that all of Egypt would take revenge for Hafez's death. Darwish claims that Nasser asked her and her siblings, "Which one of you will avenge your father's death by killing Jews?"[12]

Darwish explains:

I always blamed Israel for my father's death, because that's what I was taught. I never looked at why Israel killed my father. They killed my father because the fedayeen were killing Israelis. They killed my father because when I was growing up, we had to recite poetry pledging jihad against Israel. We would have tears in our eyes, pledging that we wanted to die. I speak to people who think there was no terrorism against Israel before the '67 war. How can they deny it? My father died in it."[13][14]

Asked what can be done to encourage more moderate Muslims to speak out, Darwish answers:

After 9/11 very few Americans of Arab and Muslim origin spoke out ... Muslim groups in the U.S. try to silence us and intimidate American campuses who invite us to speak. I often tell Muslim students that Arab Americans who are speaking out against terrorism are not the problem, it's the terrorists who are giving Islam a bad name. And what the West must do is ask the politically incorrect questions and we Americans of Arab and Muslim origin owe them honest answers.[5]

Darwish was the founder of a group called "Former Muslims United", a group that has been described as "fringe".[15] The group was a project of American Freedom Defense Initiative, run by anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller.[16] In a letter sent from that organization to Muslim leaders, Darwish said:

We send this letter to you to be received by September 25, 2009. On that date 220 years ago in 1789, the U.S. Congress passed the Bill of Rights. This is a fitting date to put our pledge to the world ... As founders of Former Muslims United, we now pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor to achieve for former Muslims their unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We claim these rights as the foundation for our right to freedom from Shariah. We urge you to join us.[17]

Darwish is a strong supporter of Israel, and has founded the group Arabs for Israel.[7][18] She says, "Just because I am pro- Israel does not mean I am anti- Arab, its just that my culture is in desperate need for reformation which must come from within".[14]

Darwish denies that she is the author of an essay entitled "Joys of Muslim Women" circulating on the internet although she considers it accurate to a large extent.[19]

Views on Islam[edit]

Darwish believes Islam is an authoritarian ideology that is attempting to impose on the world the norms of seventh-century culture of the Arabian Peninsula. She writes that Islam is a "sinister force" that must be resisted and contained. She remarks that it is hard to "comprehend that an entire religion and its culture believes God orders the killing of unbelievers." She claims that Islam and Sharia form a retrograde ideology that adds greatly to the world's stock of misery.[20]

She claims the Qur'an is a text that is "violent, incendiary, and disrespectful" and says that brutalization of women, the persecution of homosexuals, honor killings, the beheading of apostates and the stoning of adulterers come directly out of Islamic texts.[20]

In her book Now They Call Me Infidel, Darwish calls upon America to "get tougher", impose stricter immigration laws especially on Muslim and Arab immigrants, endorse assimilation, and stop "multiculturalism and cultural relativism". She has also called for non-Muslim Americans to be wary of interfaith marriages particularly those where Muslims marry Jewish or Christian women.[21]


In a 2008 article, Max Blumenthal wrote that Darwish has described Barack Obama as a "political muslim" and stated that Islam "was not a true religion".[22] At a 2011 hearing on terrorism in New York Darwish suggested that “The education of Arab children is to make killing of certain groups of people not only good, it’s holy,” and was accused by Eric Adams of “bringing hate and poison".[23] In 2012, the Southern Poverty Law Center described Darwish as being part of a group of "rabid Islamophobes who promote an array of anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and propaganda".[24] In 2017 the SPLC said Darwish had "made insidious claims including saying Linda Sarsour “wants” to give up her children “to die killing Jews” and that, “she wants to bring Sharia to America.”".[3] In a 2018 journal article, Steven Fink accused Darwish of using her “ex-Muslim insider” status to give herself credibility, as well criticising her for stating that “To be a Muslim is to take an oath of submission to the Sharia state, and that oath prevents you from claiming the human rights that are the priority of any true religion. That is why Islam’s greatest enemies are Christianity and Judaism and nations that are founded on their values” and suggesing Muslims “are incapable of feeling compassion toward non-Muslims. Acknowledging compassion to non-Muslim oppressed minorities is grounds for apostasy. A Muslim must stay hardened and unyielding” with Fink writing: "Worlds apart from acknowledging Muslim Americans as compatriots or fellow human beings, Darwish’s shariah scare industry portrayal transforms Muslims into anti-American automatons."[6]

Published works[edit]

  • Darwish, N (2006). Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror. Sentinel HC. ISBN 978-1-59523-031-7.
  • Darwish, N (2009). Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law. Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson. ISBN 978-1-59555-161-0.
  • Darwish, N (2012). The Devil We Don't Know: The Dark Side of Revolutions in the Middle East. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-13339-2.
  • Darwish, N (2017). Wholly Different: Why I Chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Faith. ISBN 978-1621575788. OCLC 945232390.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Friedman, Lisa (5 June 2005). "Ex-Muslim calls on her people to reject hatred". Los Angeles Daily News (reproduced). Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e Langton, James (13 May 2007). "Life as an Infidel". London: Guardian. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  3. ^ a b Pigott, Stephen (26 May 2017). "Anti-Muslim Activists, White Nationalists and Anti-Government Figures Join Pam Geller in NYC to Protest Linda Sarsour". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  4. ^ Piggott, Stephen (27 January 2017). "Anti-Muslim Voices Gather in Texas Capitol For 'Homeland Security Forum'". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "We Don't Like to Hear That Here; Nonie Darwish is censored here and abroad". National Review Online. 20 November 2006. Archived from the original on 19 March 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  6. ^ a b Fink, Steven (26 September 2018). "The Shariah Scare Industry and the Clash of Temporalities". Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Multidisciplinary Studies: Mathal. 5. doi:10.17077/2168-538x.1092. ISSN 2168-538X.
  7. ^ a b c Blake Boldt, 'Nashville presentation focuses on homosexuality and the Islamic culture', in Out & About Newspaper, 4 October 2011 [1] Archived 9 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Darwish, Nonie (2006), Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror, Penguin Books, ISBN 1101217855, My father came from a large middle-class Egyptian family. Born in 1920, ... His father was of Turkish ancestry and his mother's family was rooted in the Egyptian delta.
  9. ^ a b Mehlman, Yossi. "Targeted killings – a retro fashion very much in vogue". Haaretz. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  10. ^ Langton, James (20 May 2007). "The power of the pen, and the sword of Islam". The Age. Melbourne.
  11. ^ Gray, Alan "Mothers for Peace Challenge The Brainwashing of Middle East Children", News Blaze, 16 February 2006.
  12. ^ Interview with Daily Telegraph; "We were brought up to hate and we do." 12 February 2006
  13. ^ (27 March 2007). "Call Me Infidel: An Ex-Muslim Speaks Out". CBN News. Archived from the original on 23 February 2009.
  14. ^ a b Nonie Darwish: Director Archived 8 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Former Muslims United.
  15. ^ Christopher A. Bail. Terrified: How Anti-Muslim Fringe Organizations Became Mainstream. Princeton University Press. p. 79.
  16. ^ "Anti-Muslim Voices Gather in Texas Capitol For 'Homeland Security Forum'". Southern Poverty Law Center.
  17. ^ Cover Letter & Pledge Archived 2010-08-18 at the Wayback Machine, Former Muslims United.
  18. ^ Diamond, Ilana (15 August 2008). "It's lonely being pro-Israel on campus". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  19. ^ Urban legends
  20. ^ a b Keeney, Patrick (17 February 2009). "Book Review: Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law by Nonie Darwish". National Post. Archived from the original on 27 April 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  21. ^ Yaghi, Adam (18 December 2015). "Popular Testimonial Literature by American Cultural Conservatives of Arab or Muslim Descent: Narrating the Self, Translating (an)Other". Middle East Critique. 25 (1): 83–98. doi:10.1080/19436149.2015.1107996.
  22. ^ Blumenthal, Max. "Christian radio host Jan Markell hosted conservative activist Nonie Darwish, who advanced claim that Obama is a "political Muslim"". Media Matters for America. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  23. ^ Kaplan, Thomas (8 April 2011). "At State Senate Meeting on Threats to City, a Tense Debate Over Islamic Terror". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  24. ^ Schlatter, Evelyn (13 September 2012). "Values Voter Summit Provides Forum for Rabid Islamophobes". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 8 August 2020.

External links[edit]